While contemporary discussions about witchcraft include reinterpretations and feminist reclamations, early modern accusations contained no such complexity. It is this historical witch as misogynist nightmare that the film, The Witch: A New England Folktale (2015), expresses so effectively. Within the film, the very patriarchal structures that decry witchcraft – the Puritan church from which the family exiles itself, the male headship to which the parents so desperately cling, the insistence, in the face of repeated failure, on the viability of the isolated nuclear family unit – are the same structures that inevitably foreclose the options of the lead character, Thomasin.

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